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So what is a financial order?

A financial order is the only way to ensure that any financial obligations between you and your ex are cut. There are two main financial orders – a consent order and a clean break order. Consent orders are for divorcing couples, who have assets to divide and who want to make their financial settlement legally binding. 

Clean break orders are for divorcing couples who do not have any assets to divide but who still want to ensure any financial ties between them are cut. 

This includes deciding how you are going to divide: 

  • Pension
  • Property
  • Savings
  • Investments

The financial order in divorce is approved and issued by a Judge after which your agreement is legally binding in England and Wales. 

In general, any financial settlement should be fair and give priority to the welfare and needs of the children.  

You can agree a financial settlement at any time before or after the divorce although it is advisable to do so before either partners remarry. If you remarry without having reached a financial settlement with your formal spouse, you may lose the right to make any financial claim against them. He or she will still have the same right to make a financial claim against you. 

Once a settlement has been ratified by court order neither of the parties will be able to go back to the court in the future to ask for maintenance or further transfer of assets. This gives both partners a degree of certainty and allows them to completely disentangle their individual affairs. However, it is not possible to agree a clean break in respect of your obligations to provide maintenance for your children. If you discover that your spouse has assets or income not disclosed when agreed, the settlement you can go back to court to get the financial settlement altered

Obtaining a divorce typically takes about 6 to 8 months. Reaching a financial settlement is a separate matter. You need to make a separate application. How long it will take depends on your relationship with your spouse and the complexity of your financial affairs.

While negotiating a financial settlement, you are responsible to pay for your own lawyer. It is quicker, less costly and less stressful to reach agreement outside of court. You may consider family mediation to help you. If you go to the court, the cost of 3 hearings required to make an order will cost on average £20,000.